The Power of Questions: A Q&A With Tom Hughes

Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
Curious
The Unexpected Power of a Question-Led Life
by Tom Hughes

What is the premise of Curious?

The premise of Curious is that Jesus most often used questions to lead people to a greater understanding of who they are, who God is, and how God is inviting them to experience greater purpose, meaning, and direction in life.

What inspired you to write this book?

The inspiration to write Curious really came from several different places. The first was my fascination with the fact that of the 183 questions Jesus was asked, he only asked 4 of them directly. In fact, he asks 307 questions in the gospels. Why is it that the one person who knows all the answers is asking so many questions? I was curious about that. Another reason came from various leadership circles where I would meet so many leaders who feel the pressure to always have the answers for everyone. That pressure can lead us into becoming "unintended pretenders" where we end up pretending like we have all of life figured out when we still have questions too. The third inspiration came from people I would meet who wanted to know how to discover what God was up to in their life. That process of discovery, judging by Jesus' actions, includes a lot of questions and then beginning to live into the answers one day at a time.

As a Christian, isn't it more important to have answers for people?

I certainly believe it's important for Christians to know what they believe and why. However, the questions that are explored in Curious are not the apologetic questions as much as they are life questions. For example, one of the chapters considers this question: Can my baggage be used for something better? My hope is not simply to offer theology on the question, but questions that can help guide the reader on how to discover specifically their unique pain and challenges in life can be transformed and redeemed by God for his kingdom. Another example is the legacy question - what will matter in the end? The chapter doesn't just explain what will matter in the end, but helps the reader discover how to live into their legacy in Jesus' name right where they are. This is done by the Curious process in the chapter, but also telling real life stories of people who discovered and are living out their legacies in Jesus' name.

What do you hope people will take away from reading Curious?

My hope is that readers will walk away from Curious asking some of the questions that are contained with the book and begin to live into their unique answers with God's help. For example, one of the questions centers on how to impact your local neighborhood. The chapter does give a one size fits all prescription - but it does offer the reader to curiously begin to ask God: how might you want to use my life in my neighborhood? Can you help me discover my way to live into the answer for that question. I also hope that people will walk away from the book and the stories contained within the book with a sense of the joy and wonder that comes from experiencing the unexpected power that comes from a question-led life. It will lead you to discoveries that God has for you to live - and when you live them you will find a great sense of purpose, meaning, and joy. Finally, as that happens, my hope is that they then will begin to help others begin to experience the same through the power of asking the right questions and inviting people to live into the answers with God's help.